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Help Musicians has announced new plans to expand its existing Music Minds Matter service.

The charity recently published the results of a study it conducted, which found that the combined impact of the coronavirus lockdown and fears over the Brexit deal’s insufficient support for touring musicians is taking an unprecedented toll on the mental health of musicians in the UK.

The study, which surveyed over 700 musicians across the UK, found that 87 per cent of respondents said their mental health had deteriorated over the past year.

Help Musicians say that they have seen a 65 per cent rise in requests for access to their Music Minds Matter service this year. Launched in July 2017, the service provides a dedicated 24/7 mental health support line for the whole music industry, which is staffed by accredited therapists.

Aiming to improve “the health and wellbeing of all working in the music industry”, two new strands of support are now being added to Music Minds Matter, which you can find out more about here.

A national network of local support groups – offering people who work in music the ability to meet together with experts to tackle issues such as anxiety and to build resilience – is set to be created, while targeted signposting will be introduced “to help everyone find the best, most relevant advice and support, from across the music sector and beyond”.

Prominent music industry bodies, such as UK Music and PPL, have welcomed this approach, with the latter offering a three-year funding package worth £300,000 to ensure more musicians can access one-to-one counselling and therapeutic support.

“Music is beneficial to everybody’s mental wellbeing, yet those who work in music seem to struggle more than most with their own mental health,” James Ainscough, Chief Executive of Help Musicians, said in a statement issued this morning (April 9).

“The pandemic has amplified this paradox. Music Minds Matter will become a collaborative mental wellbeing resource for the entire music industry, to help those who are struggling and to transform the ability of all those working in music to proactively maintain their wellbeing. Working together, spotlighting all that is valuable whoever the provider, the music industry can embed lasting change and become a leader in caring for the mental health of its people.”

A number of charities, including Help Musicians, spoke to NME to mark World Mental Health Day back in October to discuss the impact that the pandemic is having on the mental wellbeing of musicians and touring crew.

Music Support’s managing director Eric Mtungwazi recommended that anyone struggling during the lockdown should “ask for help and reach out. The sooner you do it, the better. Even if it’s a speculative call to a helpline, we want to listen and we’ll do that confidentially. Sometimes it’s your friends, family and colleagues who will notice things before you do. If you notice that someone else is going through something, then encourage them to seek help. Sometimes they might not see how much they’re struggling. If you’re that person who’s struggling then pick up the phone or speak to a friend.

“There are amazing charities and organisations who are trying to help. What it takes to make that happen is people pulling together. Whether you’re in a comfortable position and can donate or if you can just spread the word on social media, they really need your help.”

For help and advice on mental health:

The post Help Musicians announce plans to expand its Music Minds Matter service appeared first on NME.


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